Roku is an incredibly popular streaming service that comes either built into a smart TV or as a standalone device that can be connected to any TV via HDMI.
When you purchase a Roku device, it will come with a special Roku remote to control it. Normally, these are pretty straightforward – simply connect the Roku device to your TV (or if it’s built-in, turn on the TV), and then unbox the remote and you’re good to go!
But sometimes, it doesn’t go to plan. For example, if your WiFi is down, or your TV isn’t internet compatible.
Let’s take a look at how you can connect your Roku remote to your TV under all these different circumstances.
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Your Roku Remote
First off, you need to check which kind of Roku remote you have. There are currently two types:
- Roku Simple Remote
- Roku Voice/Enhanced Remote
The Roku Simple Remote is much more straightforward to use, and it’s unlikely you’ll have any issues with it. It doesn’t actually pair with the TV or Roku device at all – it just works on IR (infrared) like any classic old remote. Simply insert batteries, point it at the TV, and you’re good to go.
However, the enhanced remote does need to pair/connect with the Roku device or TV.
Can You Use Roku With no Wi-Fi?
Simply put – yes. But not really. Without an internet connection, Roku can stream content from local or external storage – such as a hard drive or SD card, and it can mirror content displayed on your phone. But Roku needs to access the internet in order to stream content from services such as Netflix, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime Video.
However, if your TV is not a smart TV (i.e., it can’t connect to the internet), you can still use a Roku device, provided you have an internet connection available, whether that is wireless or not.
If you are using a Roku stick, you need Wi-Fi. If you’re using a Roku TV, then you can use a cabled ethernet connection.
Some Roku stick devices also have an ethernet port. If you’re connecting a Roku device to a TV and there is no Wi-Fi connection available, you will need to use a wired connection.
Using a Mobile Hotspot
If you don’t have access to any form of internet connection – wireless or wired – then you can use your mobile device to create a hotspot to which your Roku device can connect to. Be warned: this will use a lot of data and you may incur charges from your provider!
You can also use your mobile device as a remote control using the Roku App, available on the App Store and Google Play Store for iPhone and Android devices.
How Does Internet Connection Affect Remote Pairing?
As mentioned above, a Roku Simple Remote does not need to pair with the TV or device, and can be used straight away once batteries have been fitted.
When it comes to the Enhanced Remote, it needs to connect to the TV or device in order to be able to control the television’s power and volume controls, as well as Roku. The actual act of pairing the remote with the TV does not require WiFi, but you may find issues when using your Roku device/TV if your WiFi connection is poor.
How to Connect Roku Remote to TV
So, regardless of whether your WiFi is working or not, if you need to manually pair your Roku Voice/Enhanced remote with your TV, here’s how to do it.
When you’re using your Roku for the first time, navigate to the Check Remote Settings option during setup.
During this process, the Roku device will play music, and ask you to confirm if you can hear it. It will then pause the music and ask you if you noticed. If you selected No to either of these options, you’ll be given the opportunity to manually select your TV manufacturer and try the test again.
This is to allow your Roku remote to control your TV’s power and volume settings via HDMI-CEC controls. You may have to use your TV remote to allow HDMI-CEC settings manually.
You may need to pair your remote with your TV/Device after the initial setup, for example, if the remote batteries die or you experience an issue and need to reset. Here’s how to do that.
With your TV/Device turned on, locate the pairing button on your remote. This will either be on the back of your remote, or in the battery compartment.
Press and hold the pairing button until the status light begins to blink green. A window should appear on your TV screen saying ‘Pairing Remote…’
If you’re having any problems with your Roku remote, the first thing to try should be to manually re-pair the remote with the Roku device/TV. If that doesn’t work, it’s worth trying a simple reset or power cycle on your device or TV.
Unplug your Roku device from your TV, or turn off your Roku TV and unplug it.
Remove the batteries from your remote. If you have a rechargeable remote, let it run dry.
Turn on your Roku device or TV after 5 – 10 seconds and wait for the Roku logo to appear on the screen. Then, recharge or replace your remote batteries.
Press and hold the pairing button on your remote until the status light begins to blink green. You should see the ‘Pairing Remote…’ dialogue box on the screen again.
Another dialogue box will announce if the pairing has been successful or not.
It can be quite confusing as to what you can do with a Roku device and no internet connection. The simple answer is not a lot. Aside from streaming content from your phone to your TV, the Roku device doesn’t have a lot to offer without an internet connection.
If you’re frequently in places where a Wi-Fi connection is not available, it’s worth getting a Roku device that has an ethernet port in order to support a wired connection.